The New York Times reported on March 2: On average, children reach for cookies, chips and other treats about three times a day, consuming nearly 600 daily calories from snacks. That’s an increase of 168 snack calories compared with what children ate in the late 1970s.
The new study simply adds confirmation to what most Americans intuitively know: our kids are getting fatter, are getting less exercise, and they are setting themselves up for future medical problems at younger and younger ages.
So who is to blame? Many families have both parents working, so kids come home from school and nosh on the snacks, sitting in front of the computer or the game machine. Organized sports seem to happen only in the suburbs. Parents too tired or stressed by life let kids get their own eats.
Processed food companies are only too happy to obliged with offerings carefully crafted to appeal to the young appetite. Psychological based packaging draws attention to the offering whether in the store of on the home shelf.
Another study we recently read indicated that childhood obesity is correlated with a couple of key things: How often the family eats together (the less time together, the more obesity); how many hours a day the television is on (snacking and TV seem made for one another, especially when commercials remind us we are “hungry” whether we are or not.) $1.6 billion was spent on advertising to children and adolescents with snack foods being one of the largest spenders.
Good health just doesn’t happen. And it can start in the home!